July 14, 2008

The Happening

(Editor's Note: We welcome guest blogger, Aaron Schuldiner, to the team today. We hope to have Aaron up-to-speed as a full-time blogger soon, and enjoy his first post! Welcome, Aaron- put up your feet, grab a cold one, and watch the hottest team in the game! Thursday will be here before we know it!)

"The Happening"

By Aaron Schuldiner (Guest Blogger)

What a difference a month makes.

When Mike Pelfrey woke up on the morning of June 15, the Mets sat seven games behind the first-place Phillies and two games below .500. Pelfrey’s record was a paltry 2-6, and patience with him was wearing thin among Mets fans. In his wildest dreams, could Pelfrey himself have dreamed that he would soon begin a six-game winning streak that would culminate in 16 straight scoreless innings and a curtain call from the Shea faithful? Could he have imagined that members of the New York media would be drawing comparisons between himself and Brandon Webb?

Even more impressive than any numbers or comparisons is Pelfrey’s newfound mound presence. There was a time when Pelfrey was apprehensive about pitching to contact, but that was clearly behind him Sunday night, as he forced 14 groundouts with a sinker that was purely masterful. For most of his time in the majors, Pelfrey had tried to live on the black, presumably because he didn’t have the faith in his stuff to go after hitters consistently. That Mike Pelfrey is also a distant memory, as he has grown more and more willing to challenge a hitter to get out of a jam.

For the Mets, it’s as if there’s something in the air in Flushing. Maybe this is what M. Night Shyamalan had in mind when he wrote The Happening… Something in the air, so potent that it could prompt five straight games in which Met pitchers allowed three or fewer hits, a modern Major League record. Something that could facilitate the belated birth of the "Mike Pelfrey" everyone hoped to see. Something powerful enough reverse the perception of an entire city. Something so contagious that it even could’ve fixed Victor Zambrano in five minutes… Ok, so maybe that’s an ending too shocking even for Hollywood. Nevertheless, the latest twist in the Mets’ season is one that even the most optimistic fan couldn’t have seen coming. If this is indeed baseball’s version of The Happening, then this team is visibly confident that this story will have a much better ending than its counterpart.

Consider this: During their 6-0 homestand that concluded Sunday night, the Mets posted an ERA of 0.67, outscoring Colorado and San Francisco 31-4. Consider that over the same stretch, the Mets backstop duo of Ramon Castro and Brian Schneider scored as many runs as the Mets’ opponents combined. Consider also that the last time the Mets won nine in a row, it was en route to the 2000 World Series. There’s still a long way to go for this group, but there’s an air of optimism in Flushing these days that has been missing for some time now, and that in itself is quite a happening.

1 comment:

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Great blog! nice insights on the Mets but personally, I don't think the Mets have that strong of a rotation. Even if Pelfrey has a breakout year, there are still too many question marks in the Mets rotation.

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